Comment: The Final Weekend of the WEE Festival

by Lynn on June 13, 2022

in The Passionate Playgoer

Comments on the final weekend of the Wee Festival for very young audiences 0-6 years old.

Comments after each synopsis etc.

Letters from Drawing Town – Lettres de la ville-peinture

Valise Théâtre (Québec)


“When you’re little, you do what you want.
Your dreams are a total space of freedom.
You fly with birds, you talk with flowers and you walk with trees.”
– Mojtaba Moaf, Director

Once there was a little boy with an immense imagination who loved to invent and draw strange and fantastic creatures. His bedroom walls begin to fill with drawings and so he decides to build a big paper city where all his friends can live!

Young audiences are invited on a journey into a poetic meeting of theatre and graphic arts. It will invite you to dive into an imaginary universe filled with drawings, objects, shadows and video projections.

Letters from Drawing Town Creative Team

Story and illustration by Arash Badrtalei
Direction by Mojtaba Moaf
Performance by Paola Huitron and Mojtaba Moaf
Decor and puppets by Isabelle Chretien & Akram Asghari
Videography by Mahmood Poursaee
Music by Tissa
Lighting design by Mathieu Marcil
Artistic consultation by Sabrina Baran
Direction consultation by Ghazaleh Moradiyan
Pop-Up by Cecile Viggiano
Assistant Direction by Rhayssa Freire
Construction of decor by Marcus Tissier

About Valise Théâtre

The performance was in English and I found it lagged just a bit. The world for this young audience was created by shadow, silhouette images behind a lit screen, stick figures that represented animals, fish and birds, of the little boy’s imagination.

The boy was encouraged to draw by his father. He filled his room with black and white images. When the boy grew up he became and artist. But he realized that his world of drawing was only black and white. He needed colour and so he invited the young audience out into the lobby to fill in little black and white drawings with colour.

The kids were curious, fascinated and attentive. One little girl did say to her mother: “I don’t like this movie. I want to go home.” An assuring cuddle convinced the child to stay. And she was then eager to draw in colour when the show was finished. Shows like this are fascinating for the way children will lead the way, if you just let them.

A mother in front of me kept pointing out things on the stage to her your daughter. I just wanted to gently tell her to let the kid discover on her own and look at it from her young eyes, and not from her mother’s adult eyes. Sigh.

HauNodi নদী

Ruby Sinha and Diana Tso (Ontario)

The title HauNodi (pronounced haw-no-thi), combines the Cantonese and Bengali words for river, a powerful metaphor that has inspired this performance by two seasoned storytellers.  Rubena Sinha and Diana Tso invite children on a journey on a river of words, music, and movement with a stories inspired by their respective cultures from the birth of the Ganges to a magic paintbrush wielded by a brave young girl.

 河 Cantonese
নদী  Bengali 

A 2022 WeeFestival “Seedling Show”! Be the first to share in this beautiful story performed by the dynamic duo of Ruby Sinha and Diana Tso.

HauNodi নদী Creative Team
Created and Performed by Diana Tso and Ruby Sinha
Third-Eye and Dramaturgy by Lynda Hill

HauNodi is a WeeFestival “Seedling” commission.

About Ruby Sinha and Diana Tso

Over the past thirty years, Rubena Sinha has been involved in the creation of numerous cross cultural performances in Canada; primarily as Founder and Artistic Director of Fusion Dance Theatre, Inc based in Winnipeg. Trained as a classical dancer in India, Canadian for most of her life, and now based in Toronto, Rubena interweaves stories of personal history and experience with Hindu mythology and folktales – creating a world in which the listener encounters talking animals and the forces of nature, Gods and Goddesses and members of her family – all in a quest to find meaning and value in the face of life’s challenges. 

Diana Tso is a Dora award winning theatre artist, storyteller, actor, playwright and a theatre faculty member at George Brown College. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a BA hons in English Literature and Ecole Internationale de Théâtre de Jacques Lecoq in France. Her most recent performances include Modern Times Stage Company’s The Cherry Orchard, Theatre Smith- Gilmour’s Les Misérables, Stratford Festival’s 2017 season in Bakkhai and The Komagata Maru Incident. Her Red Snow Collective empowers women’s voices and re-imagines mythologies through female perspectives

Comment: I loved watching this ‘seedling’ show as it begins its journey of creation. Ruby Sinha and Diana Tso create the river with a beautifully long blue/green scarf of material that they stretched to its full length on the floor. They flipped it in the air, twirled it like a snake as the river curved and flowed. Ruby Sinha sang a song in Bengali and Diana Tso sang one in Cantonese. I was grateful when one of the mothers in the audience at the talk back asked what languages they were speaking in. They are noted in the show description, but it’s good for the next iteration of the show to tell the audience specifically what languages are being used. The audience participates in singing in both languages. Love that inclusion.

Kudos to Lynda Hill for curating another Wee Festival for young audiences. I loved the imagination, creativity and artistry of the various companies and their shows that I saw. And of course, the most important thing is learning about discovery from the young audiences.

I look forward to next year’s Wee Festival.

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